Earth Day 2020 - The Golden Anniversary Of Earth Day

Earthday 2020 Earthday 2020
Dan Daggett
Vice President, Corporate Sustainability
Apr 16, 2020

April 22 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and it comes during a period of uncertainty and fear as we unite to defeat a global pandemic. By Earth Day, we likely will have more than 2.5 million cases of COVID-19 infection around the world and tens of thousands of tragic deaths. At first glance, it may not seem like an appropriate time to worry about environmental issues like air pollution, water scarcity, or climate change. But while our highest priority is without a doubt fighting the pandemic, Earth Day reminds us that the planet is a single, inter-connected ecosystem. As a result, many catastrophes increasingly will be both global and influenced by the environment.


Since the first Earth Day, in 1970, the world’s population has more than doubled and the global economy has expanded 20-fold[1]. Environmental issues such as climate change, rising ocean levels, and plastic pollution are being driven by a growing global population and the expansion of international commerce. Much like infectious diseases, these challenges aren’t restricted by geopolitical borders or nationality. There also is growing evidence that climate change and deforestation are leading to more infectious disease outbreaks, as people are coming into more frequent contact with zoonotic pathogens due to loss of habitat and altered weather patterns[2]. This year’s Earth Day serves as an important signal that global challenges call for international collaboration and recognition of the link between environment and disease. 


As we emerge from the pandemic, we’ll have the opportunity to re-think many of the systems and processes around the world that COVID-19 derailed. There already are calls for a ‘green reboot’ to integrate environmental stewardship in the recovery efforts[3],[4]. For Diversey, where our mission is to protect and care for people, we will be helping bring hotels, restaurants, stores, airports, and offices back online with disinfection and hygiene products and procedures. There will be higher expectations for cleanliness and hygiene, but we don’t have to sacrifice environmental responsibility while meeting those requirements and assisting in the recovery. 


Throughout the course of Diversey’s nearly 100 years of providing cleaning and hygiene technologies, we have demonstrated that environmental stewardship is good for business. Deep cleaning and disinfection for all facilities in 2020 can be done with products and technologies that are effective, but also prevent waste by conserving water, saving energy, and protecting workers health. Diversey’s customers in hospitality, healthcare, food service, building services, retail, and food & beverage rely on cleaning product technologies, equipment innovations, and services that help lower their environmental footprint.


Diversey’s accelerated hydrogen peroxide (AHP) technology is a great example of disinfecting efficacy combined with environmental sustainability. AHP® products, such as Oxivir®, protect people from pathogens such as COVID-19 without exposing them to more harmful disinfecting chemicals, including bleach. AHP products have an excellent safety profile and unlike traditional disinfectants which can leave behind residue, AHP breaks down to oxygen and water.


We should also look for additional opportunities to stay away from “ready to use” (RTU) products and to use more concentrated cleaners and disinfectants instead. As commercial buildings, retail stores, restaurants, schools, and hotels re-open, there is going to be a need for significant deep cleaning and disinfection. If we can avoid RTU products and rely on concentrated products and closed loop dispensing, we can achieve massive reductions in packaging. Diversey’s dilution control systems can reduce packaging up to 98% compared to RTU. 


Cleaning processes also are a critical factor in making sure cleaning and disinfection are done responsibly. Diversey has developed a green cleaning process called Healthy High Performance Cleaning (HHPC) that details how to maximize efficiency, reduce waste and ensure safety. HHPC reduces the negative impacts of cleaning on an individual’s health and the environment, and provides a pathway to clean and hygienic buildings. HHPC is the only cleaning system certified for indoor air quality.


Earth Day has always been a time for action and inspiration as we work together to find solutions to solve global environmental challenges. The global pandemic is causing the cancelation of meetings, gatherings, and events; but that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for economic recovery. It’s essential that we recognize that we are all in this together. Just as the world had to take action to slow the spread of COVID-19, we all will need to recognize our role in fighting issues like climate change, plastic pollution, and water scarcity. As we begin to recover from the pandemic, let’s work together to ensure we do so responsibly.


Today, Diversey reaffirms our commitment to responsible use, customer partnerships, and sustainable innovations.  


To download our sustainability report and learn more about Diversey’s commitments to social and environmental stewardship go to